UPDATED: German court upholds Medtronic's CoreValve heart pump patent

Medtronic's CoreValve--Courtesy of Medtronic

Some observers were predicting defeat. But in German court, at least, Medtronic ($MDT) came out ahead in its heart pump patent battle with Edwards Lifesciences ($EW).

As Bloomberg reports, the German District Court of Mannheim ruled Medtronic's CoreValve transcatheter aortic heart valve replacement (TAVR) didn't violate Edwards' Cribier patent (regarding its Sapien valve).

A Medtronic spokesperson told FierceMedicalDevices via email that the company "is pleased by the findings, which ensure continued options for patients needing transcatheter aortic valve procedures."

Some expected a far different outcome, considering Edwards last fall came out on top in the case in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (costing Medtronic $83.6 million). And Edwards is moving aggressively in the U.S. and Europe in an attempt to bar Medtronic from selling CoreValve. Also, earlier this month, analysts at Canaccord Genuity predicted that the German District Court would help Edwards continue its onslaught. They gave it a 60% chance of winning (so anyone who cast their ballot in Edwards favor clearly lost the bet).

That doesn't mean that Medtronic is out of the woods yet in Germany, where CoreValve generates substantial revenue for the company. Edwards is challenging CoreValve in two other lawsuits involving two other patents in Germany. The story explains that those will face some sort of court resolution in the coming months. Interestingly, another industry analyst predicts that Edwards will lose these cases, too; Wells Fargo's Larry Biegelsen said in the Bloomberg story that the initial German defeat could be a sign of things to come for the other two disputes.

Either way, the outcome will be worth watching. Germany remains a major battleground as Europe's biggest market for transcatheter aortic valve implantation.

- read the Bloomberg story

Editor's Note: This story has been updated to include comments from Medtronic.

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